Originally Posted by Airway
Where along the east coast of central america would you recommend the most? What did you like about those areas? Any places to avoid?
East coast of CA:
is a great cruising ground. Ive lived and sailed there for many years and still have areas I would like to explore more (like the aptly named "bad lands" ). Officialdom can be a PITA and it is the most expensive country next to Costa Rica
. Stable govt/history and less security
issues than most of its CA bretheren.
. Absolutely amazing country. Has been my home base since 2006. Limited sailing options in Guate per se, but its a day sail to Belize and an overnight to the Bay Islands. Rio Dulce is the ultimate hurricane
hole in the NW Carib with lots of boat services and marinas
. Many cruisers keep their boats here for hurricane
season and then head
out to cruise
the region and return. Big cruiser community on the Rio. Guatemala in general is a bit "wild west" for some, it has massive socioeconomic-political issues which are simply intractable problems which will never be solved
(IMHO), but the people are wonderful, the history/culture fascinating, and gets my vote for the most stunning beautiful country in CA. Extensive inland travel highly recommended.
. The Bay Islands are great venue with direct USA flights into Roatan. Each island is unique, not only physically, but culturally. Security
situation here is reasonable, but coastal mainland Honduras
is best avoided and even given a VERY wide berth when underway. Unfortunate, because we used to really enjoy that coast line too.
. Very interesting coast line, but best avoided by cruisers due to security issues. Very remote
and isolated. No sailing community or related services. I do highly recommend travel in the rest of Nica though.
Colombian Islands (off Nicaraguan Coast). Great place to visit, esp Porvenir, but no signicant expat/cruiser community or related services.
Costa Rica. The Carib coast is a bit isolated and only rarely attracts cruisers to my knowledge. No sailing community that I know of. Most expensive country in CA, generally more expensive than living in the USA (several friends who live there guestimate about 30% more). Beutiful geography/nature, but very homogenous and uninteresting culturally (no indegenous culture becaue the Spanish shipped all the males to Peru
to mine Inca gold...it was a one way trip where they were worked to death). Massive Disneyland like tourism to make it less appealing.
Panama. Lots of options and lots of pros for expats/cruisers n Panama. We've cruised Panama for several years now and lived part time in the Chiriqui Highlands. East coast has Bocas del Toro and the San Blas, with a few stopping points in between like Portobelo. Several clusters of cruiser communities here and associated services. Moderately expensive (less than CR/Belize, more than Nica/Guatemala/El Salvador). Security issues for cruisers are relatively rare, almost non-existent in the San Blas. Stable govt...Uncle Sam keeping a watchful eye on the Canal helps with that, as does one of the strongest economies in CA. US Dollarized economy is handy too...you can even spend USA coins. No hurricanes is a bonus.